Groundwork Training in Water

Just like our sprinkler training, good horsemanship is about getting a horse used to the world around it and is a high priority. This technique generally works best if you have good groundwork skills already going on and can easily move your horse’s hooves when and where you want to, especially backing. All without any trouble or concern.

The reason good groundwork is essential is that in this case it’s important that the horse knows what you want it to do, in some cases it’s the only thing it will be able to take confidence from. In a stressful or concerning situation for the horse where it feels it needs to flee or just get away to preserve it’s life, being able to simply back the horse or have it move around can very easily save both yours and your horse’s life. It’s the fastest way to get him out of trouble and ends up being far kinder to the horse for it.

The longer a horse stays worried about something, the worse it will be in the future. If you recognize your horse is not doing well with something, it’s important to help him get there in the quickest way possible. Groundwork is the basis for all of that and in this case it’s used to just get him to walk around in a creek. We’re doing groundwork right in the water, just practicing going around and then back the other way. Once we have a decent pattern and rhythm going, take a break, just walk a bit perhaps. After this video was taken we walked up a bit further along the creek and worked in chest deep water (chest deep for the horse) and did the same thing.

Keep in mind that the horse can get spooked rather easy in this situation and keeping the nose in towards you and attention on you is critical to succeeding if something were to pop out of the trees or trail. Even a fish swimming around or by us can cause him concern and if his nose is away from me then it would take next to nothing to tear the rope out of my hand as he takes off for safety. Remember not to get yourself in too deep, if you have made it to a good spot and the horse has relaxed but you haven’t got everything done that you want, maybe come back the next day and likely you’ll be starting at a better spot than you did the first day. The experiences should grow and sooner or later you’ll start off where you ended the last time.

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